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Penguins Report: 2/5/11

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Bylsma announces Malkin has torn ACL and MCL (12:58 PM). More details on Malkin from Bylsma (1:52 PM).
  • Michalek has a maintenance day; nothing new with Asham (1:55 PM).
  • Coach Bylsma on Staal, the Capitals and recalls (1:53 PM).
  • Martin, Goligoski and Cooke spit knowledge (2:01 PM).
  • Pens host special groups at practice (11:50 AM).
  • Pens pics (12:10 PM).
  • Pens pics II: The Sequel (2:04 PM).
  • “I don’t know anything. I don’t know who I am…” (11:02 AM).

2:04 PM:
More photographic proof of the Pens at work...

Dan summoning the troops (left); the troops gathered (right)

Jordan Staal, both still and in action

Letang (Cinco Ocho) getting loose (left); Fleury stoning Kunitz (right)

Johnny with a smooth poke check (left); the D men sharing a laugh (right)

2:01 PM:
Sounds heard around the locker room...


On how to shut down Washington's top line of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Jason Chimera:
It’s tough. You have that situation here too with Sid and Geno when they’re healthy. When you have top guys like that, it’s tough to stop them. You try to minimize their opportunities and take away time and space. Ovechkin’s more of a shooter than Backstrom is, Backstrom’s more of a disher. I’m sure Chimera’s there to give them some time and space and use his speed to open up the ice for them. It’s tough to just key in on one guy.

On how Pittsburgh has been able to have success despite injuries:
I think when you have guys like that out, you have to be sharp every night and do the right things. I think it’s good when we see that it’s effective and we’re successful doing it. It’s contagious and we have to continue doing it. Guys have stepped up, like (Dustin) Jeffrey. He’s gotten a chance to play more minutes and he’s been playing well, as has (Chris Conner). Everyone’s been chipping in and doing their job and it gives them more minutes to show that. So I think everyone’s been trying to step it up in the absence of some key guys.


On how to shut down Washington's top line of Ovechkin, Backstrom and Chimera:
Backstrom’s obviously a great passer. You don’t want to give him a lot of time with the puck. You want to make sure you have a good gap on Ovechkin, he kind of wanders around out there and finds open ice. So you just want to make sure you have a good gap on him so he can’t get wheeling up that right side like that. You don’t really go out there with a different game plan, you just have to be aware of them.

On how Pittsburgh has been able to have success despite injuries:
I think we’ve been real focused, especially with our details, making plays on the wall and really concentrating on grinding teams down in their zone. We’ve converted on the chances that we’ve got, so that’s always a bonus when you can go out and go on little streaks like this when some of your best players are out.


On Washington’s improvement defensively:
I think you try to evaluate every year and get better in other areas. They obviously don’t think goal scoring is their problem, they’ve done very well at that the last bunch of years. So you look to other areas.

On how the team is approaching Sunday’s game:
They’re a great team and they’re very dangerous offensively. We have to make sure we limit the chances that we provide them by managing the puck properly the way that we want to and playing in the areas that we want to get to.

On how to handle a hot line like Ovechkin-Backstrom-Chimera:
You’ve got to know where everybody is. You’ve got to make sure you’re doing the right things with the puck and make sure that we execute the way that we know we can so that they don’t get extended chances that we provide them.

Two assists (five-point night total): Michelle Crechiolo

1:55 PM:
Bylsma said Michalek took a maintenance day and he expects the defenseman to be in the lineup against the Capitals. There's no new updates on Asham, who is still day-to-day with an upper-body injury according to Bylsma.

"It was a maintenance day for (Michalek)," Bylsma said. "(Sunday) we expect him to be out there for us."

1:53 PM:
The rest of coachspeak with Dan Bylsma...

On Jordan Staal and if he’s ready to be the top center for the Penguins with Crosby and Malkin out:
There’s always been an impression of our team from the media and the talk about our team about Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. And the shadow (on Staal), if there’s been any cast, has more been by the articles and the media attention, not by what he means to our team. We all recognize – and our general manager has been on record saying we win Stanley Cups with this guy – (that) he’s been an important part of our team with the role that he’s played, with the minutes that he’s played and where he’s been at. He’s really playing a very similar role right now to what he played with us before. He is getting power-play time, that would be the one addition to what is bringing to our team. But the importance of the minutes he plays, who he’s playing against and how he plays the game and what he can bring to our team isn’t changing because of the absence of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. He is being a dominant guy down the middle that is hard to play against, he’s good at both ends of the rink, he’s got speed, he’s got size. Last night, not just on the goal but there were three other instances where he was tenacious on the puck, winning battles and then turning it back, a couple were on the power play and then you saw the one for the goal with Matt Cooke that turns out to be the game-winning goal. If he steps out of a shadow, it’s because you stop writing about Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. He’s been front and center and a big part of our team in being that guy for our team for our while.

On bringing someone up for insurance as they’re at the minimum number of forwards:
There’s a chance. We have to talk about it by discussion of bringing a player up for insurance given the three (games) in four nights and some of the guys that have been banged up the last couple of games.

On the challenge of playing the Capitals, especially now without Malkin:
It’s always a big game. We go into Washington and we know the rivalry. The atmosphere and the building’s always a tough place to play and it’s always a great one to play in. We’re anticipating the same thing when we go in there (Sunday). It’ll be a challenge. We’ve found ways to win games and be effective, and we’ve really done it by committee and playing as a team and together. This is going to be a great challenge. They just came off a big win and seem to have some guys on the scoresheet with Backstrom and OVechkin getting points in the last game. They won a big game and now we have the challenge of facing them coming off a big game and us having the challenges we’ve had. But we’ve been able to get some wins, so we’re looking forward to that game of the week.

On if his team likes going into buildings in Washington and Philadelphia where they’re hated by everyone in the barn:
It’s hard playing in those buildings but I don’t think we fear playing in those buildings. I think we enjoy big games and we enjoy the rivalry. We’re going to go in there with every intent of playing our game, and I think these guys have a special challenge to try and go in there and get two points with the group we have in there right now.

Hat trick: Michelle Crechiolo

1:52 PM:
Bylsma goes into more details on Malkin:

On how big of a blow Malkin’s injury is, especially as he had started to get healthy again:
You’re talking about Evgeni Malkin and the quality of player that he is. He’s a guy that’s won a scoring title and a Conn Smythe. We were anticipating getting him back in the lineup and healthy back in the lineup. This is a difficult injury for him.

On if he has talked to Malkin:
I have not talked to him. He was gone before I had a chance to see him last night, and he’s been at the doctor’s this morning so I haven’t had a chance to see him yet.

On if there was any intent to injure or carelessless on the play that led to Malkin’s injury:
It really was the second part of the contact that made the hit. That was two guys kind of going into the boards on their own that happened to land on each other, which caused the hit. I don’t think at the point of injury that (Tyler) Myers had any intent of even making contact with anybody.

On if Malkin’s other knee was pretty much healed:

12:58 PM:
Head coach Dan Bylsma told the media that Evgeni Malkin has a torn ACL and MCL.

"Evgeni Malkin had an MRI this morning. The results show that he has a torn MCL and a torn ACL. At this point in time we are discussing options with the doctors on what to do next.

"This is a difficult injury for him. It was kind of a fluke situation going into the boards with a guy. That's a tough injury for Geno. We have dealt with games without him. We've managed to find our way without him. That's what we're going to have to look at now.

"We're discussing options with our doctor. Surgery is a possibility. I'm not sure if there are rehab possibilities. But right now I just got the news on the MRI."

12:10 PM:
Photographic proof of the Pens at work...

Linemates Dupuis (left); and Kunitz (right)

Orpik and Engelland (left); Talbot (right)

Twins? Kunitz and Jeffrey (left); the Cooke-Staal-Kennedy line practicing breakouts (right)

11:50 AM:
The Penguins are hosting two special groups of kids at practice.

A group of kids who had their vision screened at the Hill House on Thursday courtesy of Davis Vision and Tickets for Kids Charities are enjoying an up close view of practice behind the benches. Coach Dan Bylsma just greeted the kids before practice and they cheered loudly when the players came on the ice.

On the penalty box side, Iceburgh is hosting a 'Big Bash' with some of his friends who are part of the TGI Friday's Penguins Kids Club. Members entered for a chance to attend the party and the lucky winners are here today. Don't forget - membership to the TGI Friday's Penguins Kids Club is free so why not join? Click here to sign up!

11:36 AM:
The Pens are on the ice at CONSOL Energy Center for their Saturday practice. Defenseman Zbynek Michalek is not currently on the ice, neither is Evgeni Malkin - who suffered a lower-body injury Friday against Buffalo. Arron Asham still has yet to return to practice since his upper-body injury Feb. 1 at NYR.

11:02 AM:
The Pens are coming off a spirited team victory with a 3-2 final over the Buffalo Sabres. Pittsburgh has won five straight games, and eight of its past nine, despite missing some key players from the lineup.

Pittsburgh will hold an afternoon practice at CONSOL Energy Center before catching a plane to the nation's capital - Washington, D.C. The Pens renew their rival with the Capitals Sunday at 12:30 on NBC.

For today's music selection, we'll go with Mad Season. Much like Temple of the Dog, Mad Season was an "All-Star band" comprised of members from popular grunge bands Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam and Screaming Trees. But Layne Staley's distinct vocal tones make them sound more like an Alice in Chains imitation.

Their most popular song is "Rivers of Deceit." However, my favorite song by them is "I Don't Know Anything." Pretty simple chords and lyrics, but it totally rocks.

BONUS! For the mainstream audience, here is "Rivers of Deceit."

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